Saturday, May 23, 2009

Project 365: Day 142 -- The Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Skellig (and no, they aren't peices of jewelry)

We headed into the village today for breakfast, and at that point decided we had done everything there was to do in the village. Time to expand our horizons, so to speak. But on the way back to the car, I photographed this gentleman out for his morning walk.

On the drive to the Ring of Kerry--which was our plan for the day--we stopped at this structure by the side of the road. Kelly doesn't think it's really as old as it's intended to look. I have no idea what it is, how old it is, or why it's there. But I enjoyed photographing it.

Yesterday, we photographed this beach from an elevated point on the highway. Today, we took the side road down to the water. It's just before Waterville, and I believe it's called Silver Strand, but don't quote me on that--it's not like there was a sign or anything marking it. As someone who loves the ocean, I was in heaven down here. I spent time photographing all the tide patterns in the sand, the rock formations, the pretty purple flowers growing in the rocks, the tide pools...and as we explored, a misty rain came down, and a fog rolled in.

We climbed to the highest point on the beach, where the view was beautiful....

And I love this shot of Kelly walking back down the hillside. The grasses were tall, and very wet. So by the time we got back to the car, we were both soaked from the knees down. We didn't care.
This made me laugh--a sign for Ireland's only surf-side bar. Painted on a surf board. Did you know they surf in Ireland? We discovered that while watching one of their 3 television stations, when they had a show on about some surfers. I can't imagine surfing in the North Atlantic. WAY too cold!
More views of the coastal areas that make up the Ring of Kerry...

We found another beach area that was beautiful. And there were the ruins of a church and a cemetery on the hillside overlooking the little cove. It was getting pretty foggy by this time, but that just added to the ethereal feel that Ireland has. After seeing the countryside, it's no wonder they tell so many beautiful stories about faeries and magic. Ireland itself feels like a faerie tale of sorts. It's hard to describe the mystical quality here. It's a place that encourages your imagination to reach far and wide, and to believe in things you might not back home. Anyway, we explored the ruins and the cemetery, were I photographed yet more crosses. Kelly climbed up to the highest point with my camera and took some photos from there.

One thing I noticed was that these little daisies were growing in the paths. Only in the areas where feet had trodden down the grasses. The little flowers didn't grow amongst the graves or in the open areas--only on the paths.
At the bottom of the hillside was the beach, where Kelly skipped some stones. According to our guide book, this area has the warmest waters in all of Ireland, and is very popular during the brief summer season. We stuck our hands in the water, and it was pretty warm for the North Atlantic in May.

No day in Ireland is complete without a pint. We stopped in Waterville for a late lunch/early supper.

Along the Ring of the Skellig Peninsula, there is a small Chocolate Factory. They give you tastings of all the gourmet chocolates. So of course we stopped and tasted--and bought. Some rather unusual flavors, too. Sea Salt--dark chocolate with a slightly salty finish. Chili Hot--dark chocolate chips with fine red pepper flakes (those were for Kelly!) Gin & Tonic--haven't tried that one yet. Dark chocolate coated orange peels. Mint brittle. Lemon brittle. It was all yummy!
This is the kind of crazy roads they have here in Ireland! See how there are no shoulders, and no place to pull over? And it's only wide enough for one car. Yet there is two-way traffic! And the speed limit sign posted 80km!
A fog bank moved in completely at one point during our drive. We couldn't see anything! So I have no idea what lovely views we may have missed.
The fog cleared somewhat as we arrived in Portmagee. A cute little harbor with tours over to Valentia Island. It was getting late in the day, so we decided not to take the trip over to the island, but to head back to Kenmare.
Back in Kenmare, we strolled through the village.
One thing we have noticed in Ireland is an abundance of Real Estate offices, with lots and lots of properties for sale. They say the prices have come way down since the recession hit, but in my opinion, they are still way high. We thought we might buy this little place as a vacation home, lol.
Then we stopped in a pub for some Irish coffee. I loved seeing all the Coke lined up behind the bar, and the beers on tap are different from what we see in America.

Here is the view from our room at the B&B...and this is at 9 o'clock at night...

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